JOLO, Sulu (DWDD) – Local officials and residents of Pata, Sulu surrendered 20 more high-powered firearms and war materials to the Joint Task Force Sulu on February 9.
Voluntarily surrendered were four M16 rifles, an M653, a Bar for Caliber .30, 13 Garand rifles, a Sig 7.62, and rounds and magazines of various calibers.
The firearms and war materials were turned over by the municipal and local officials and the residents to Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the JTF Sulu commander, at the detachment of the 31st Marine Company in Barangay Simbangon, Pata, Sulu at 10:05am last Friday.
”This was a result of the relentless efforts of our forces in the campaign against loose firearms to pave the way for peace and progress in the province of Sulu,” said Brigadier General Sobejana.
On February 2, Pata Island Mayor Anton Burahan and some barangay officials surrendered a cache of weapons and ammunition, consisting of three 81MM Mortar tubes, a 90 RR crew-served weapon, a barrel of Caliber .50 MG, four M16 rifles, three M14 rifles, five Garand rifles, an M79 Grenade Launcher, and a hundred rounds of ammunition.
The surrender came following a successful combat operation launched by the Philippine Fleet Marine Ready Force Sulu that yielded to the discovery of an arms cache in Barangay Pisak Pisak, Pata Island on January 31.
“We are intensifying our intelligence and combat operations to monitor and gather loose firearms in line with the President’s directive to immediately confiscate all unlicensed firearms including that of soldiers and policemen,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“As we sustain our momentum, we encourage all those who have a stake in the future of Sulu to take steps against terrorism and support our campaign to remove all tools and implements for violent extremism.”
In a span of 10 days, 48 firearms were already seized from Pata Island, Sulu. Of this number, one was recovered in Barangay Pisak Pisak, Pata Island, Sulu last January 31; 18 firearms were surrendered by Pata Island Mayor last February 2; nine firearms from Barangays Niyog-Niyog, Kayawan and Kanjarang were surrendered last February 5; and another 20 firearms were yielded on February 9.
“This indicates that our campaign is on the right track. We are happy that our strategy of diplomatic mentoring is working among the different areas of the WestMinCom.”
“We are looking for more positive results under the prudent and effective implementation of Martial Law in Western Mindanao.”
“I would like the people to know that their armed forces, through the WestMinCom, are dead serious in removing all the vehicles of violence all over the region. I, therefore, encourage everybody to join us in making Sulu and other areas safe for all of us,” added the WestMinCom Chief. WESTMINCOM / MCAG